fine art

home & garden


work in progress


3-d printer
ahp tools
engineering kinetic sculpture
everlast tools
finish work & patinas
focus on art
how to create a sculpture
longevity tools
milling machine & metal lathe
public art
shop math: measuring & leveling
studio tour
tools for the studio
transporting & installing videos
arc welding
bending & shaping
cutting & grinding
general welding
health & safety
mig welding
other techniques
specific projects
tig welding
tool how-to's

  * How to Shape Metal With Hand & Power Tools
  * How to Bend Square Tubing So It Doesn't Kink
  * How to Take a Design From Paper to Metal
  * The Best Way to Hold Work for Grinding
  * Does Aluminum Rust?

more ...

"I just saw the 'Hands On' photo gallery, and I am awed at the work Kevin has done! It's one thing to see the finished product but being able to see how it was built is amazing."
--Sharon Martin, artist, Scottsdale, Arizona

Bookmark and Share

< Back
Next >

How to Use an Air Shaper – and Why You’d Want To

A viewer saw a machine in the background of some of Kevin's videos and asked what it is.

The machine is an air-power metal shaper. It has a big power head that runs off air pressure from, for example, a compressor. A foot pedal on the floor controls how much air feeds to the power head, which runs a die that rattles up and down against a fixed anvil on the bottom. There are many different types of dies and anvils for different jobs.

Kevin is sure you're thinking, “OK, fine, but what does that do for me?”

He tells viewers to turn down their speakers and shapes a piece of aluminum with the air shaper. It is loud!

Kevin shows what the air shaper has done to a piece of aluminum in a short period of time. You can take a flat piece of metal and dish it out to make a bowl, a cap, or anything you want to shape in a rounded form.

Next he takes out the shallow die and puts in a more pointed one and shapes a corner of the aluminum. Kevin shows the difference between what it did to the aluminum compared to the first die, even with the same air pressure.

This air shaper comes with a small set of different dies. Kevin shows steel ones, like he’s been using, as well as plastic, rubber and leather dies. The plastic ones are for shrinking and planishing, which smooths out the metal, getting out the hammer marks. It may even mean you don’t have to grind!

So that's just a couple of things an air shaper will do.

A couple of things that this machine will NOT do is shape steel thicker than a quarter inch. If you get the big power head, though, you can shape ¼” steel.

The other thing you don't do with this machine is try to shape hot metal with it. The heat will destroy the temper in the dies and anvil.

Hopefully that answers the viewer’s question. Kevin asks you to “like” this video and leave your comments below. Well, you might want to hang out for another moment to see an unusual way Kevin plays with this equipment ….

Watch more videos now